The Seahawks’ offensive line is nicked up at an inopportune time. Seeking the first 4-0 start in the franchise’s 37-year history, Seattle likely will have to overcome the absence of two starting tackles when they play the Texans (2-1) in Houston Sunday (10 a.m. PT, FOX).
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that right tackle Breno Giacomini injured his knee during the 45-17 rout of the Jaguars. He hasn’t practiced this week, and Carroll didn’t sound optimistic about his prospects of playing against Houston’s aggressive pass rush.
“He’s sore today,” Carroll said. “He’s not going to go. He’s going to need to get some more information to see where he is.”
If Giacomini is unable to practice Friday, he likely won’t play Sunday, which means one of the rookie tackles, Alvin Bailey or Michael Bowie, will start opposite backup left tackle Paul McQuistan (filling in for injured Russell Okung), against a defensive line allowing 91.3 rushing yards per game. Bowie Wednesday slid in at right tackle with Seattle’s first-team offense.
Center Max Unger sat out practice (arm injury) and his status for Sunday’s game also remains uncertain.
Bowie and Bailey made their NFL debuts against the Jaguars. Sunday they would line up across from Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s a fantastic football player,” coach Pete Carroll said of Watt, a player he recruited heavily when he coached at USC. “He just causes so many problems. He plays with incredible effort and intensity so we really have to pay attention.”
To say the least. Watt finished 2012 with 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. In his third year out of Wisconsin, he’s earned acclaim, and the nickname J.J. “Swatt” for his ability to knock down passes at the line of scrimmage.
“I don’t think anybody knew that he was going to be this dominant, and I’ve heard Houston say they didn’t know that either,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks don’t know if Bailey or Bowie can slow down Watt. Seattle grabbed Bowie in the seventh round out of Northeastern State and signed Bailey as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas. Asked his impression of their NFL debuts, offensive line coach Tom Cable, as honest a coach as there is in the NFL, offered praise.
“I’m really excited for their future and our future,” he said. “I thought both of those kids went in there and knocked people off the ball, protected really well. They got comfortable really quick, which was a huge moment of growth.
“I was very pleased with what we saw,” he said.
Equally important was shedding the nerves exhibited by most rookies making their NFL debuts. Cable will rely on both to stop, or at least limit, one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL. Watt already has three sacks in 2013.
“It’s like gold,” Cable said of Bowie and Bailey making first starts. “You feel like you’re not starting over. They’ve been there, they’ve done it, so now it’s just normal preparation.”
- Rookie running back Spencer Ware didn’t practice Wednesday and will miss his second straight week with a high ankle sprain. Rookie running back Christine Michael, who had nine carries for 37 yards in his first pro appearance Saturday, will take his place.
- Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse sprained an ankle against the Jaguars, though Carroll said he is recovering quickly and might play against the Texans.
- Defensive end Red Bryant has back spasms. He was seen briefly in the Seahawks locker room stretched out on a recliner before presumably heading to the training room.
- Defensive lineman Michael Bennett didn’t practice, though he is expected to play Sunday.
- Running back Marshawn Lynch sat out practice but wasn’t injured, a sign Carroll and Co. are trying to limit the punishment he takes during the course of the season. In three games, he has 62 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
- Per Carroll, wide receiver Percy Harvin is in New York this week to rehab the hip injury that will sideline him at least for the first six weeks of the 2013 season.
Seahawks sign veteran O-lineman
Center/guard Jason Spitz, a seven-year NFL veteran (45 starts), whom the Jaguars released in August, was signed Wednesday. Spitz, a former third-round selection by the Packers in 2006, spent the last two seasons in Jacksonville.